Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday April 15, 2017
Crucial vote looms for Hamilton’s LRT project
The survival of Hamilton’s $1 billion LRT project is balancing on a knife-edge.
If on Wednesday a deeply-divided council votes against submitting the updated environmental assessment to the province, Mayor Fred Eisenberger and others see it as the kiss of the death.
At this point there’s no telling how the vote will go, other than it’ll be a squeaker.
Only six of the 16 members of council, including the mayor, are firmly committed to keeping the train rolling.
That means, with Robert Pasuta on sick leave and unlikely to attend, Eisenberger must find at least two other supporters.
The most pliable in the mushy middle are probably veteran Tom Jackson from the east Mountain and rookie Arlene VanderBeek from Dundas.
Both are playing their cards close, virtually guaranteeing a cliffhanger.
“I haven’t decided,” says Jackson, who’s grown increasingly cynical about the project since the James Street spur was arbitrarily “de-scoped” by the province.
“I’ve pretty much decided how I’m going to vote, but I’m going to wait for the discussion,” says VanderBeek, noting she needs to find the balance between what’s good for Dundas and the rest of the city.
Stoney Creek’s Maria Pearson, another potential swing pro-vote, is equally guarded. Pearson says she’s still taking in information but admits she has “major concerns.”
To add extra suspense, the results of the councillor-funded poll gauging community support for the project are expected to be released Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the mayor has gone into overdrive — some say belatedly, some say desperately — to rally support. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)